A pergola for therapy
Avon mental health clinic gets a useful gift
On a cold, dreary morning in April a handful of Avon Rotarians assembled to lighten the mission of the clinical team at Noyes Mental Health and Wellness clinic.
Clinic project manager Gerald Chamberlin helped four Rotarians erect a 144-square-foot pergola sought by the clinic to enhance their therapy sessions with their 367 current patients.
The project was conceived by Steve Csapo, Avon Rotary president, and Michael Donegan, vice president of operations for UR Medicine and Noyes Health. It is designed to provide a relaxing, pleasant outdoor environment for patients to work through their issues with staff therapists.
“Major kudos to Avon Rotary for investing in the health of Avon and surrounding communities. Thank you for your investment and work,” Donegan said. “The clinical team at the site is thrilled, planning for both personal break use and client care. Their efforts are now focused on praying for good weather so they can use the space.”
Associate Director Laura Bond agreed, saying, “It’s just a lot easier for some patients to talk in a more comfortable environment than sitting in someone’s office. We can do some of the assessments of prospective patients out there and we see people for ongoing mental health therapy sessions. We just wanted to beautify the space here as well. I think it adds a lot to the outside space to have a structure like that.”
The space will be enhanced even further in Avon Rotary’s phase 2 plan for the Tec Drive property. Csapo envisions adding greenery and some additional seating as there is money left in the project budget, he said. With the structure alone costing $4,728, the club is in process of approving the purchase of four chairs and some shrubbery with some of the remaining money.
One of four mental health clinics in Livingston County, the Avon facility attracts patients from throughout Livingston County and greater Rochester, Bond said.
“It’s very challenging to find mental health treatment right now and because we are able to get people in within a week or two for their first appointment leads to people being willing to drive a long way,” she said.
The need for mental health services is increasing, she said, and even many children need help.
“COVID had a lot to do with it. Kids are still struggling with school issues after having been out of school for a couple years,” Bond said. “They express a lot of anxiety, a lot of depression and especially with the younger kids a lot of struggles with social skills.”
Bond directs a staff of seven therapists, including two who specialize in art and one trauma therapist who often helps military veterans who have combat trauma. They are all kept so busy, having had 551 visits last March, that they are looking to hire another therapist.
“The need for mental health services is increasing,” Bond said, and “being able to take patients outside is really helpful. We really want to use the pergola as a clinical space. I think we’re going to really keep it pretty busy with treating patients out there.”
Associated with UR Medicine, the Noyes Mental Health and Wellness Clinic is at 5712 Tec Drive, Avon
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